Some of the customs of Mexico are well known and familiar around the world, especially to Catholics, as many Mexican customs have their roots in religion. This central American country has had a fascinating and colorful history, which there having been many outside influences on the customs of Mexico. Let’s take a short journey together into the customs of Mexico.
1. Traditional Music
The Aztecs, Mayas and Iberian cultures have all had an influence on the culture of Mexico. Music has played an important part and with Mexico having been colonized by Spain for about 300 years, their influence is a part of the musical tradition of the country. Traditional music is not only one of the customs of Mexico, but also an identity for each region of the country, which makes for a diverse and fascinating part of its history. One of the most popular and easily recognizable sounds is that of the Mariachi that originated in the state of Jalisco.
2. Wedding Traditions
One of the traditions associated with a wedding in Mexico is that of the priest giving thirteen gold coins to the groom, who then offers them to his bride. This Mexican custom represents Jesus Christ and his twelve apostles and symbolizes the willingness of the groom and his capability to care for his future wife during their marriage. It is also one of the traditions of Mexico that Godparents are part of a marriage ceremony and give the couple a Bible and a rosary. They are the sponsors of the wedding and the benefactors of the bride and groom.
3. Day of the Dead - Día De Los Muertos
One of most well-known Mexican customs is the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos). Celebrated between 31, October and 2, November, it is when the deceased are honored with a festive and colorful occasion. Families visit the decorated graves of their relatives and friends to say prayers and offer gifts for their souls, and in their homes, they erect decorated altars (ofrendas) as a welcome to the spirits.
4. Cinco De Mayo
One of the most important dates in Mexican culture celebrates the victory by Mexico over France in 1862 at the battle of Puebla. The celebrations help the youth understand the importance of this day and its significance for Mexico. Exhibitions are organized on a huge extent across the country and feature crafts and artwork
5. Christmas in Mexico
The Christmas customs of Mexico remain strong to the catholic roots. The La Posada begins on the 16th and happens every day up to Christmas Eve. A procession carries a baby Jesus to the nativity scene in the local church or to elaborate scenes in people’s home in re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter in Bethlehem. Traditionally, lullabies are sung for the newborn Jesus at the midnight mass during this period known as the ‘La Misa Del Gallo and is the time the baby Jesus is added to the crib in the nativity scene. Gifts are presented to the children on the 6th January - Three Kings Day (Dia de los Reyes).
6. The Siesta
Among the diverse and ancient traditions of Mexico are those that have either been forgotten or phased out. Among the latter is the popular custom of Mexico known as the “Siesta”. Shops are closed for a few hours during the afternoon to allow their owners and employees a period of rest. Although, because of the increasing pace of life in the urban areas this custom is declining, in the villages and rural locations the Siesta is one of the old customs of Mexico that still prevails.
7. The Bull Fight
Although classified as an illegal sport in many other countries, there is still bull fighting in Mexico. Inherited from Spain, it is one of the popular traditions of Mexico and attracts varied and large audiences to the arenas.
8. The Pinata
These days, piñatas are a familiar sight at many a party. This most delightful aspect of Mexican culture has been adopted around the world. The piñata can be a pot made of clay, which is filled with fruit, sweets and confetti, or it can be an elaborately fashioned paper creation – often in the shape of a donkey. They have colorful decorations of tinsel, ribbons and paper, with a rope attached. The piñata is hung up, and blindfolded children then try to break it open to reap the rewards from inside. You won’t find many adults turning down the chance of a swing at it either!
Which of these customs of Mexico charmed you most?